The Laser Interferometer Gravity-wave Observatory (LIGO) operates sites in two U.S. locations. In Southeast Washington, LIGO's facility is located about 12 miles from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) near the city of Richland. LIGO is one of several projects around the globe seeking to open a new field of astronomy through the direct detection of gravitational waves from space. You can take a quick tour of "extreme spacetime" surrounding black holes, neutron stars, and other phenomena expected to produce detectable gravitational waves. LIGO researchers are passionate about their exploration of the theoretical and practical experimental limits of these elusive measurements (hear it from them).
What type of work is done at LIGO?
Research at LIGO centers on instrumentation, calibration, and data analysis projects related to constantly monitoring and improving observatory hardware and software. In 2014 LIGO completed the installation of its next-generation advanced detectors as reported in this BBC article. STAR Fellows at LIGO can expect to interact closely with the larger number of Fellows placed at nearby PNNL. Attention to detail and data analysis skills are essential at LIGO. STAR fellows at LIGO are able to take advantage of on-site accommodations organized by PNNL, but LIGO is most appropriate for individuals with access to their own reliable transportation.